Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Back to the Grindstone: Budget

Obviously, my cash flow is on the low side after my cruise. It ended up costing about $700 total, which ate up the majority of my tax refund.

So it's back to the grindstone as far as budgeting is concerned. Here are some bright spots:

1. I just transferred my old Visa balance to a new 0% interest rate card. I am going to make $200 payments per month (more than double the minimum amount due) so that I can get the debt down to about $1,000 in a year. That is sooooo much more manageable. Once it's that low, I should have it paid off completely six months later. In theory.

2. April = mild temperatures = low electricity bill.

3. I have already paid off the cruise. Entirely. WOOT -- that was hard to do, but I decided to be the responsible adult for once. Go me.

There are some challenges:

1. I would like to get a part time job. It would be strictly for savings account/credit card debt purposes. But how can I find a part time job that won't interfere with my gym/exercise regime? I need to have time to work out. And it needs to be a job that won't leave me totally exhausted, so that I can still hit the gym afterwards. Anyone have any good ideas? Here is a list I have made of ideas:

* could try to be a Clinique girl again. Plus: free makeup! Downside: putting makeup on some people is gross. (Have I told you my stories??) And if you've ever worked retail, you know that it has its own type of suckage.

*I could wait tables. Plus: lots of exercise while I work! Downside: I come home smelling like food. And say good-bye to weekends. And getting enough sleep.

*I could be a PT librarian at another library. Plus: It pays very well, and the work is easy. Plus, libraries are always cold in the summer. Downside: Even more sitting on my ass, being bored. And one library here in town is still pissed at me for quitting, so I know they won't even consider hiring me back.

2. If I got rid of my Internet at home, it would save me $45 per month. That adds up quickly. I would love to get rid of my Internet at home, especially since I never use it. CN already told me that if I needed to, I can use his computer for Internet. So what's the problem? I use my computer to charge my iPod and use iTunes so that I can work out. I canNOT exercise without music. No Internet = no iPod = no exercise = fat VB. And that cannot happen. Does anyone know how I can get around this? CN's work computer won't let me use iTunes and his USB ports are broken, anyway. So using my iPod at his house is out for now. And I don't want to leave my iPod at work to charge. Obviously. Does anyone know if you can still charge your iPod even if you don't have Internet???

And there are some goals:

1. I have another credit card, which has a balance that is quickly getting away from me. It's hovering around $6000. I know that's not that bad, but I need to get a hold of it. Because it's nothing to be proud of, either. The bad news? The APR is......oh, jeez, I am embarrassed to say. It's a long story. Anyway, I think I need to transfer this $6000 balance to my old Visa (the one whose balance I just transferred to the 0% card), because the old Visa's only got a 9.9% interest rate. Which is much better than the current rate. Am I correct in saying that this is a good idea? Or will this look weird on my credit report?? At least the balance won't be growing astronomically anymore, right? It will just be....you know, about 50% slower.

Are you loving it that I am asking my readers to be my pseudo-financial-advisors? LOL

Anyway, this sounds like a good idea in theory, so I am going to call the old Visa peeps on Thursday to ask about transferring this $6000 balance onto my recently-emptied card.

I am on a mission to be in less debt on December 31st than I was at the beginning of this year. I am determined to pay down these credit card balances!! And maybe even have a savings account again!

On a totally unrelated note, have I told y'all that MJ has no credit card debt? And that CN has ZERO credit cards? Yeah. My freak of a boyfriend has no credit cards. The only debt he has is his mortgage and his car payment. He doesn't even have any school loans from college left -- he already paid them all off. He is obviously concerned about my credit card debt. And I am, too. But I keep trying to tell him that most people have far more debt than I do.



Stella said...

Keep in mind, that you won't need a part time job forever. You can make $15/hr waiting tables x 15 hours a week = $900/mo (very hypothetical, doesn't include taxes, etc). You could pay off the $6K credit card in about 7 months. Yes, you won't have much of a life, you will be tired and you might not be able to exercise as much. I've lived this life. The things I remember from doing this was that I relied more heavily on prepared foods and found myself doing laundry at very odd times.

Jonathan Zero said...

Yes, you can still charge your iPod if you do not have internet. It just needs the power source through the USB port on your computer.

Coco said...

People like that disturb me. I think they might be nazis.

I totally did away with internet to save money-now I use work or my phone to access it. Don't know much about iPods, though, so I'm not much help.

I actually got a REALLY low interest rate, fixed payment on a line of credit from one of my credit card companies and transferred everything to that-at least that way I know exactly how much it is, and how long it will be before it is paid off, and it really helped.

I took a second job, and let me tell you, working out has gone in the crapper. I fit it in sometimes, but even when I have time, I'm usually so exhausted both mentally and physically that I can't make myself do it. Sucks hard core.

SSB said...

Hey VB,

Of course you can still charge your iPod without having the internet. You just couldn't access the iTunes store and buy more music, since that requires internet (obviously.)

Good news about PT waitressing -Great money for a part time job. I use my paycheck from my real job to pay rent and other bills, and my cash from waitressing for things like gas, food shopping, nights out. I haven't charged anything since I started waitressing again in December. Plus, all that running around is like a workout in a way!

Bad news - When you work in an office all day, waitress at night, you don't work out. I manage to go about 3 days a week (usually monday-thursday) but then I work Friday, Saturday, Sunday night and don't even have time to think about the gym. And I also have zero free time, and absolutely no weekend. AND being around food all night isn't exactly the best scenario (I'm trying to lose weight as well, and this can be a downside to the restaurant industry)You can always find ways to eat healthy though.

Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to give you some insight! Good luck!

Caz said...

Good job that you're trying to get yousrelf out of debt! I'm impressed.

Anyway, I think you should come join us over at 20something bloggers. It's a fun community and there's lots of interesting blogs.


Phantom Hater said...

Definitely transfer to the card w/the lower rate. It may cause a temporary hitch in your credit report if both cards report balances at the same time, but in the long run you'll be much better off because you're just losing money the other way. Also, you might try calling the card company and seeing if they'll lower your rate.

Itunes? Paying for music. How quaint!

You can also buy a wall or car charger for your iPod.

Internet isn't really something you want to cut, IMO.

You want a couple ideas for PT jobs for you? Try free-lancing articles about cooking or cleaning houses. Something that lets you have adjustable hours so you can retain your schedule. Offer your services as a school tutor. Or just strip for $$$.

RWA said...

I am no financial expert, and I don't claim to be.

However, you can buy an AC charger for your iPod that plugs into any standard wall outlet. It doesn't have to be attached to a computer to charge.

JP said...

I just paid off my credit cards and I feel so much better now. I've thought about a part-time job, too. Let me know if you find something lucrative, fun and easy!

Megan said...

Good luck...all I can say is that credit card debt scares me. My husband had a lot when we got married (I had none) but we knocked it out really quickly, because the interest was eating us alive. Now the only debt we have is our mortgage and his truck payment.

Meghan (The Declaration of MY Independence) said...

I have some financial advice for you since I have befriended a bank teller in my building who took classes on it. She let me in on the scoop and its basically what PH said. When you do transfer cc balances, it takes a couple points off your credit score for awhile. BUT if your not planning on making any big purchases in the near future (car, house, etc.) go for it. It really shouldnt matter!

Virginia Belle said...

stella-- you bring up a very good point. it might only be for a little bit. good call. thanks for the reminder!

jonathan -- ok, i thought so. thanks for confirming that.

coco -- yeah, i have thought about consolidating, too...not sure if that is a good idea. i like the idea of knowing when it would be paid off. sounds like my fears about working out are confirmed. :(

ssb-- thank you. you also bring up good points. luckily, i can say that i am so sick of looking at food and exhausted from waitressing by the end of the night, that i would probably lose weight -- when i have to choose between eating and sleeping, sleeping always wins! sounds like you have been successful financially, thanks to waitressing. it's been a long time since i've done it, but it's like riding a bicycle. ugh, i will miss my free time...

caz-- ok! i will check it out! thanks.

PH-- as usual, you are full of ideas, some of which are questionable! i forgot about the ipod wall chargers. i really like the freelance writing idea...thank you.

rwa -- yeah, i had forgotten about those until i posted this. :P

jp -- that is a tall order, but i will see what i can do!

megan -- i am green with envy! that's where i want to be! just a car payment and a mortgage!

meghan -- i'm not. so i think this might be my best bet. i just want to see the numbers DROP for a change, you know??

Sam said...

I may be repeating other commenters... but here it goes. You DO NOT need the innernets to charge your iPod. Dork! Your credit score will go down by: opening a NEW card, having a high ratio of debt to open credit on a card (ex. owe 1000 on a 1500 card is bad. owe 1000 on a 3000 card is much better!) If you are going to make a major purchase, you might want to split the debt between two cards. However, if you are just wanting to pay off debt in a timely manner, put it on the lowest interest card. If you have other financial questions, don't forget that I was a financial planner. I have the answers!!

Smug said...

Have you thought about getting a PT job at the gym? You could work a few nights a week or over the weekend at the front desk or something and make some small extra money, but you will also get your membership for free! I used to work at my gym before I went back to school, and I would close the gym on Fri-Sun and then workout after everything was closed! You could also workout before your shift - this would give you some extra money, same some money and keep you working out!

Debbie said...

I too am paying off my credit card debt.

Have you ever read this blog:


She's got some great blog links on her site... they belong to people just like you, trying to budget and pay off their debts.

(Karyn, who owns Pretty in The City, is the one that paid off her $20,000 in debt with the help of kind strangers on the internet! Her original site is:

http://www.savekaryn-originalsite.com )

I'm not suggesting you panhandle on the internet; she just has great budgeting friends on her page. :)